Women's History Month

Published: March 2020

Powerful Poems By Women Poets For Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month. It's a time to celebrate the important role women have had throughout history. It originally began as Women's History Week back on March 7, 1982. The first month-long celebration occurred in 1987.

Women have had and continue to have integral roles in a variety of fields. Each year, the National Women's History Alliance names a theme of Women's History Month to highlight all that women have done.

We all are familiar with famous women in our nation's history. But many women in our personal circles have also demonstrated strength, courage, and character. They are trailblazers and pioneers in their own right. Let's celebrate them this month. Be sure to share one of these inspirational poems with a woman in your life. Don't forget to thank her for the difference she is making in the lives of others.

This collection also includes poems written by famous women poets.

44 Powerful Poems By Women Poets For Women's History Month

  1. 1. The Invitation

    The Invitation is a prose poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Many years after the poem was written and had become famous, the author wrote a book based on the poem, The Invitation (1999), by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Oriah is a spiritual counselor and story teller, among other things. This poem offers an invitation to every single one of us to "show up" in the universe. She reminds us that we do not serve the universe by being small. Rather, we serve the universe by making the most out of our lives.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    It doesn't interest me
    what you do for a living.
    I want to know
    what you ache for
    and if you dare to dream
    of meeting your heart's longing.

    It doesn't interest me
    how old you are.
    I want to know
    if you will risk
    looking like a fool
    for love
    for your dream
    for the adventure of being alive.

    It doesn’t interest me
    what planets are
    squaring your moon...
    I want to know
    if you have touched
    the centre of your own sorrow
    if you have been opened
    by life's betrayals
    or have become shrivelled and closed
    from fear of further pain.

    I want to know
    if you can sit with pain
    mine or your own
    without moving to hide it
    or fade it
    or fix it.

    I want to know
    if you can be with joy
    mine or your own
    if you can dance with wildness
    and let the ecstasy fill you
    to the tips of your fingers and toes
    without cautioning us
    to be careful
    to be realistic
    to remember the limitations
    of being human.

    It doesn't interest me
    if the story you are telling me
    is true.
    I want to know if you can
    disappoint another
    to be true to yourself.
    If you can bear
    the accusation of betrayal
    and not betray your own soul.
    If you can be faithless
    and therefore trustworthy.

    I want to know if you can see Beauty
    even when it is not pretty
    every day.
    And if you can source your own life
    from its presence.

    I want to know
    if you can live with failure
    yours and mine
    and still stand at the edge of the lake
    and shout to the silver of the full moon,

    It doesn't interest me
    to know where you live
    or how much money you have.
    I want to know if you can get up
    after the night of grief and despair
    weary and bruised to the bone
    and do what needs to be done
    to feed the children.

    It doesn't interest me
    who you know
    or how you came to be here.
    I want to know if you will stand
    in the centre of the fire
    with me
    and not shrink back.

    It doesn't interest me
    where or what or with whom
    you have studied.
    I want to know
    what sustains you
    from the inside
    when all else falls away.

    I want to know
    if you can be alone
    with yourself
    and if you truly like
    the company you keep
    in the empty moments.

    The Invitation By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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  2. 2. Phenomenal Woman

    Maya Angelou is one of the most influential women of our time. Her writing pulls on the hearts of many readers. In addition to her proliferous writing career, Maya Angelou has been a civil rights activist. This poem shows how even though someone is not beautiful on the outside compared to society's standards, there is an inner beauty that makes a woman even more beautiful.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    Analysis of Form and Technique

    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I'm telling lies.
    I say,
    It's in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It's the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I'm a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can't touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can't see.
    I say,
    It's in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I'm a woman

    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head's not bowed.
    I don't shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It's in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    'Cause I'm a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

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  4. 3. Still I Rise

    Maya Angelou is one of the most celebrated American Poets of our time. Born in 1928, her life has spanned much of the African American struggle for racial equality. She was a confidant of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In this poem about African American Courage, Angelou embodies the power, courage and tenacity of the African American experience.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may tread me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise.

    Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.

    Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I'll rise.

    Did you want to see me broken?
    Bowed head and lowered eyes?
    Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
    Weakened by my soulful cries.

    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don't you take it awful hard
    'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
    Diggin' in my own back yard.

    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I'll rise.

    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I've got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?

    Out of the huts of history's shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that's rooted in pain
    I rise
    I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise.

    Still I Rise By Maya Angelou

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  5. 4. Solitude

    "Solitude" is Ella Wheeler Wilcox's most famous poem. The idea for the poem came as she was traveling to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend the Governor's inaugural ball. On her way to the celebration, there was a young woman dressed in black sitting across the aisle from her. The woman was crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her for the rest of the journey. When they arrived, the poet was so unhappy that she could barely attend the festivities. As she looked at her own face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of "Solitude." It was first published in an 1883 issue of The New York Sun.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
        Weep, and you weep alone;
    For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
        But has trouble enough of its own.
    Sing, and the hills will answer;
        Sigh, it is lost on the air;
    The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
        But shrink from voicing care.

    Rejoice, and men will seek you;
        Grieve, and they turn and go;
    They want full measure of all your pleasure,
        But they do not need your woe.
    Be glad, and your friends are many;
        Be sad, and you lose them all,
    There are none to decline your nectared wine,
        But alone you must drink life's gall.

    Feast, and your halls are crowded;
        Fast, and the world goes by.
    Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
        But no man can help you die.
    There is room in the halls of pleasure
        For a large and lordly train,
    But one by one we must all file on
        Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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  7. 5. An Admirable Woman

    • By Crystal Foy
    • Published by Family Friend Poems July 2006 with permission of the Author.

    A poem about a special, amazing and righteous woman.

    in Compassion Poems

    There is a woman who always keeps her head up high.
    Her eyes sparkle like a bright star in the sky.
    She has the stamina, beauty, and courage that one would admire,
    Even the love and happiness one inspires.
    She is a women that one can always count on,
    And a woman that sees no wrong.
    Her beauty shines from the inside out,
    It flows like a journey down a long route.
    Her smile shines beautifully like the sun rising over the horizon,
    And her intelligence, wisdom, and hard work are not surprising.
    She is a genuinely caring women
    Who goes the extra mile to help one in need or broken hearted,
    And throughout all of her hard work,
    No one ever sees her fall apart.

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  8. 6. The Spider And The Fly

    "The Spider and the Fly" is a poem by Mary Howitt (1799-1888), published in 1828. The story tells of a cunning Spider who ensnares a Fly through the use of seduction and flattery. The poem teaches children to be wary against those who use flattery and charm to disguise their true evil intentions. The gruesome ending in this cautionary tale is used to reinforce the important life lesson being taught.

    in Famous Children Poems

    "Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
    "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
    The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
    And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
    "Oh no, no," said the little fly; "to ask me is in vain,
    For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

    "I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high.
    Well you rest upon my little bed?" said the spider to the fly.
    "There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
    And if you like to rest a while, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
    "Oh no, no," said the little fly, "for I've often heard it said,
    They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!"

    Said the cunning spider to the fly: "Dear friend, what can I do
    To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
    I have within my pantry good store of all that's nice;
    I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please to take a slice?"
    "Oh no, no," said the little fly; "kind sir, that cannot be:
    I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

    "Sweet creature!" said the spider, "you're witty and you're wise;
    How handsome are your gauzy wings; how brilliant are your eyes!
    I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
    If you'd step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
    "I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say,
    And, bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

    The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
    For well he knew the silly fly would soon come back again:
    So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
    And set his table ready to dine upon the fly;
    Then came out to his door again and merrily did sing:
    "Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
    Your robes are green and purple; there's a crest upon your head;
    Your eyes are like diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

    Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
    Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
    With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer grew,
    Thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue,
    Thinking only of her crested head. Poor, foolish thing! at last
    Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast;
    He dragged her up his winding stair, into the dismal den -
    Within his little parlor - but she ne'er came out again!

    And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
    To idle, silly flattering words I pray you ne'er give heed;
    Unto an evil counselor close heart and ear and eye,
    And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.

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    This is a beautiful poem, very beautiful! It can as well be a warning to school girls who are prone to dating those men out there. Symbolically, the spider in the poem is a male and the fly...

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  9. 7. Great-Grandmother, A Beautiful Woman

    • By Jacquia Lindsay
    • Published by Family Friend Poems April 2006 with permission of the Author.

    A poem written in tribute to a great and noble woman: a great-grandmother who has seen and suffered much and is full of love and strength.

    in Grandmother Poems

    Strong, beautiful black woman, so peaceful and serene,
    You deserve to live in Paradise and shown the finer things.
    Life has dealt you plenty of cards, some winning, others bad,
    And tides have brought in waves of memories: both happy and sad.
    Gracious, beautiful black woman, so wonderful and divine,
    You've endured many heartaches - oh, the world is so unkind!
    Your speech is confident, your eyes are soft, and your walk is hard and bold.
    Your laugh equals happiness, your heart contains love and hides the stories untold.
    Tired, beautiful black woman, so patient and so calm,
    It's funny how you hold the family's fear within your palm!
    With wrinkles, stress, and worn-torn hands, tell me how do you smile so...
    When you've traveled this long, endured all this pain, and still have miles to go.
    Blessed, beautiful black woman, so collected and confident,
    I can't imagine a gift greater than you - your love is heaven sent.
    Don't you dare give up now, just stay strong, your reward is comin'...
    Strong, courageous, gracious, blessed, and beautiful black woman.

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    I hope you don't mind that I shared this poem with a Great Grandmother in our church, she has custody of her two great grandchildren, one of them is 8 and the other is just born 3 months...

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  10. 8. Caged Bird

    Caged Bird By Maya Angelou was first published in her book, "Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?" in 1983. The poem is a Metaphor illustrating the differences between African-Americans and Whites during the civil rights era. The author, a black woman who grew up in the South during this era, is expressing her feelings at the discrimination she faced during her life. Her first autobiography published in 1970 is titled, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

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    The free bird leaps
    on the back of the wind
    and floats downstream
    till the current ends
    and dips his wings
    in the orange sun rays
    and dares to claim the sky.

    But a bird that stalks
    down his narrow cage
    can seldom see through
    his bars of rage
    his wings are clipped and
    his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    The caged bird sings
    with fearful trill
    of the things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill for the caged bird
    sings of freedom

    The free bird thinks of another breeze
    and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
    and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
    and he names the sky his own.

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing

    The caged bird sings
    with a fearful trill
    of things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill
    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.

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    I remember this poem from my guided reading class in 5th grade. I remember it well. This poem really touched me, and reading it again just made my day. This poem, I remember it being about...

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  11. 9. If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking

    This poem is by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). Like all the rest of her poems, the poem does not have a title and is called by the first line of the poem. Dickinson had the gift of saying a tremendous amount in a few perfectly succinct words. The poem's message is simple and self-explanatory. If I can ease the burden of a fellow living creature, "I shall not live in vain."

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    If I can stop one heart from breaking,
    I shall not live in vain;
    If I can ease one life the aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain.

    If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking By Emily Dickinson

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    The poem transmits the meaning of helping from the heart, reaching out to those in need and soothing the pain felt by others. It doesn't need a hero to work wonders, only need a heart to...

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  12. 10. Peace

    Being immersed in nature brings about a peace within a person. Everything in nature has been carefully and meticulously created, leaving us breathless when it’s enjoyed. The world revolves in a peaceful manner; it’s people who’ve created the chaos. Humans are so busy with many different things that we forget to slow down and enjoy the peace of nature.

    in Famous Nature Poems

    THE steadfast coursing of the stars,
    The waves that ripple to the shore,
    The vigorous trees which year by year
    Spread upwards more and more;

    The jewel forming in the mine,
    The snow that falls so soft and light,
    The rising and the setting sun,
    The growing glooms of night;

    All natural things both live and move
    In natural peace that is their own;
    Only in our disordered life
    Almost is she unknown.

    She is not rest, nor sleep, nor death;
    Order and motion ever stand
    To carry out her firm behests
    As guards at her right hand.

    And something of her living force
    Fashions the lips when Christians say
    To Him Whose strength sustains the world,
    "Give us Thy Peace, we pray!"

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    A beautiful and inspired poem about a sometimes elusive quality that we all so much need to permeate our hearts. Maybe it has something to do with understanding and being understood and...

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  13. 11. The Little White Hearse

    When Ella Wheeler Wilcox was about 28 years of age, she married Robert Wilcox. They had one child, a son, who died shortly after birth. The Rhyme Scheme is ABAAB.

    in Famous Death Poems

    Somebody's baby was buried to-day--
          The empty white hearse from the grave rumbled back,
    And the morning somehow seemed less smiling and gay
          As I paused on the walk while it crossed on its way,
    And a shadow seemed drawn o'er the sun's golden track.

    Somebody's baby was laid out to rest,
          White as a snowdrop, and fair to behold,
    And the soft little hands were crossed over the breast,
          And those hands and the lips and the eyelids were pressed
    With kisses as hot as the eyelids were cold.

    Somebody saw it go out of her sight,
          Under the coffin lid--out through the door;
    Somebody finds only darkness and blight
          All through the glory of summer-sun light;
    Somebody's baby will waken no more.

    Somebody's sorrow is making me weep:
          I know not her name, but I echo her cry,
    For the dearly bought baby she longed so to keep,
          The baby that rode to its long-lasting sleep
    In the little white hearse that went rumbling by.

    I know not her name, but her sorrow I know;
          While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more,
    And back to my heart surged that river of woe
          That but in the breast of a mother can flow;
    For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.

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    One cannot relate to the loss of a child unless they have gone through it. One can only feel the same pain of another if they have. This poem beautifully speaks of and shares this pain.

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  14. 12. Equality

    Racism and discrimination continue to plague our society, and those themes are clearly seen in this poem by famous poet Maya Angelou. She was not only an author and poet. Maya Angelou was also a civil rights activist. In this poem, she encourages people to keep moving forward. Don’t give up the fight for equality. The repetition of “Equality, and I will be free,” draws the reader’s attention to this poem's important and emotional message.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    You declare you see me dimly
    through a glass which will not shine,
    though I stand before you boldly,
    trim in rank and marking time.
    You do own to hear me faintly
    as a whisper out of range,
    while my drums beat out the message
    and the rhythms never change.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

    You announce my ways are wanton,
    that I fly from man to man,
    but if I'm just a shadow to you,
    could you ever understand?

    We have lived a painful history,
    we know the shameful past,
    but I keep on marching forward,
    and you keep on coming last.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

    Take the blinders from your vision,
    take the padding from your ears,
    and confess you've heard me crying,
    and admit you've seen my tears.

    Hear the tempo so compelling,
    hear the blood throb in my veins.
    Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
    and the rhythms never change.

    Equality, and I will be free.
    Equality, and I will be free.

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    Truely inspirational poem. This is the cry of present time that it is the 21st century and people are still struggling for equality, which is far from reach for many.

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  15. 13. Mirror

    Sylvia Plath was an American author and poet who lived from 1932-1963. She was a driven person, and she graduated summa cum laude from Smith College in 1955. Despite her success, Plath struggled with depression, and committed suicide in 1963. This poem shows the struggle a woman has with her identity as she grows older and begins to lose her youthfulness. It also uses personification by giving human characteristics to the mirror.

    in Famous Sad Poems

    I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
    Whatever I see I swallow immediately
    Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
    I am not cruel, only truthful,
    The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
    Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
    It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
    I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
    Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

    Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
    Searching my reaches for what she really is.
    Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
    I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
    She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
    I am important to her. She comes and goes.
    Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
    In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
    Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

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    A mirror never lies. It shows what is what exactly. Just as Plath writes: "I am silver and exact". The truth of our mortality is what we keep on negating and the speaker too finds it hard to...

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  16. 14. The Ballad Of The Harp Weaver

    Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet who lived from 1892-1950. This poem is about maternal love and self-sacrifice. Edna St. Vincent Millay's own mother was very sacrificial. She divorced her husband and worked as a nurse to support her children. Even though they were poor, Edna's mother was an incredible support and encouragement. She made sure her children had access to a variety of reading materials and music. This poem won Edna St. Vincent Millay the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1923. At the time, she was only the third woman to receive this honor.

    in Famous Narrative Poems

    "Son," said my mother,
    When I was knee-high,
    "you've need of clothes to cover you,
    and not a rag have I.

    "There's nothing in the house
    To make a boy breeches,
    Nor shears to cut a cloth with,
    Nor thread to take stitches.

    "There's nothing in the house
    But a loaf-end of rye,
    And a harp with a woman's head
    Nobody will buy,"
    And she began to cry.

    That was in the early fall.
    When came the late fall,
    "Son," she said, "the sight of you
    Makes your mother's blood crawl,--

    "Little skinny shoulder-blades
    Sticking through your clothes!
    And where you'll get a jacket from
    God above knows.

    "It's lucky for me, lad,
    Your daddy's in the ground,
    And can't see the way I let
    His son go around!"
    And she made a queer sound.

    That was in the late fall.
    When the winter came,
    I'd not a pair of breeches
    Nor a shirt to my name.

    I couldn't go to school,
    Or out of doors to play.
    And all the other little boys
    Passed our way.

    "Son," said my mother,
    "Come, climb into my lap,
    And I'll chafe your little bones
    While you take a nap."

    And, oh, but we were silly
    For half and hour or more,
    Me with my long legs,
    Dragging on the floor,

    To a mother-goose rhyme!
    Oh, but we were happy
    For half an hour's time!

    But there was I, a great boy,
    And what would folks say
    To hear my mother singing me
    To sleep all day,
    In such a daft way?

    Men say the winter
    Was bad that year;
    Fuel was scarce,
    And food was dear.

    A wind with a wolf's head
    Howled about our door,
    And we burned up the chairs
    And sat upon the floor.

    All that was left us
    Was a chair we couldn't break,
    And the harp with a woman's head
    Nobody would take,
    For song or pity's sake.

    The night before Christmas
    I cried with cold,
    I cried myself to sleep
    Like a two-year old.

    And in the deep night
    I felt my mother rise,
    And stare down upon me
    With love in her eyes.

    I saw my mother sitting
    On the one good chair,
    A light falling on her
    From I couldn't tell where.

    Looking nineteen,
    And not a day older,
    And the harp with a woman's head
    Leaned against her shoulder.

    Her thin fingers, moving
    In the thin, tall strings,
    Were weav-weav-weaving
    Wonderful things.

    Many bright threads,
    From where I couldn't see,
    Were running through the harp-strings

    And gold threads whistling
    Through my mother's hand.
    I saw the web grow,
    And the pattern expand.

    She wove a child's jacket,
    And when it was done
    She laid it on the floor
    And wove another one.

    She wove a red cloak
    So regal to see,
    "She's made it for a king's son,"
    I said, "and not for me."
    But I knew it was for me.

    She wove a pair of breeches
    Quicker than that!
    She wove a pair of boots
    And a little cocked hat.

    She wove a pair of mittens,
    She wove a little blouse,
    She wove all night
    In the still, cold house.

    She sang as she worked,
    And the harp-strings spoke;
    Her voice never faltered,
    And the thread never broke,
    And when I awoke,--

    There sat my mother
    With the harp against her shoulder,
    Looking nineteen,
    And not a day older,

    A smile about her lips,
    And a light about her head,
    And her hands in the harp-strings
    Frozen dead.

    And piled beside her
    And toppling to the skies,
    Were the clothes of a king's son,
    Just my size.

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  17. 15. As You Go Through Life

    In this poem, Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) shares valuable advice about life and shows that trying to make things go your way is futile. She encourages that instead of fighting against the reality of life being difficult at times, allow yourself to be shaped into God’s plan. A lot of her poems have a spiritual element to them. This poem is made up of octaves (eight-line stanzas).

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    Don't look for the flaws as you go through life;
       And even when you find them,
    It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
       And look for the virtue behind them.
    For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
       Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
    It is better by far to hunt for a star,
       Than the spots on the sun abiding.

    The current of life runs ever away
       To the bosom of God's great ocean.
    Don't set your force 'gainst the river's course
       And think to alter its motion.
    Don't waste a curse on the universe--
       Remember it lived before you.
    Don't butt at the storm with your puny form,
       But bend and let it go o'er you.

    The world will never adjust itself
       To suit your whims to the letter.
    Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
       And the sooner you know it the better.
    It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
       And go under at last in the wrestle;
    The wiser man shapes into God's plan
       As water shapes into a vessel.

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  18. 16. Remember

    Christina Rossetti was an English poet who lived from 1830-1894. In this poem, she wants her loved one to remember her after death. The word “remember” is shared five times, bringing attention to the importance of holding onto those memories, but the tone changes at the end. She then gives her loved one the permission to move on after her death. She hopes to be remembered, but she doesn’t want those memories to cause sadness to those she leaves behind. The form of Remember is a Petrarchan Sonnet.

    in Famous Death Poems

    Remember me when I am gone away,
             Gone far away into the silent land;
             When you can no more hold me by the hand,
    Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
    Remember me when no more day by day
             You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
             Only remember me; you understand
    It will be late to counsel then or pray.
    Yet if you should forget me for a while
             And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
             For if the darkness and corruption leave
             A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
    Better by far you should forget and smile
             Than that you should remember and be sad.

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  19. 17. Barter

    Sara Teasdale was a frail and sickly person who chose to find the beauty in the things around her. Her love for beautiful things is reflected in her poetry. This is one such poem where she shares the importance of taking a moment to look to the things in this life that bring us joy, no matter how simple they may be. The rhyme scheme is ABCBDD.

    in Famous Inspirational Poems

    Life has loveliness to sell,
    All beautiful and splendid things,
    Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
    Soaring fire that sways and sings,
    And children's faces looking up
    Holding wonder like a cup.

    Life has loveliness to sell,
    Music like a curve of gold,
    Scent of pine trees in the rain,
    Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
    And for your spirit's still delight,
    Holy thoughts that star the night.

    Spend all you have for loveliness,
    Buy it and never count the cost;
    For one white singing hour of peace
    Count many a year of strife well lost,
    And for a breath of ecstasy
    Give all you have been, or could be.

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  20. 18. On Aging

    Aging can be a tricky topic, one that’s difficult for people to navigate. Famous poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014) shares her thoughts on this topic. Although the speaker knows her body doesn’t work quite like it used to, she doesn’t want to be treated differently. Even though her body has changed, she is still the same person she used to be, and she doesn’t allow aging to bring her down. She still has value and the ability to live a full life. Maya Angelou was a very influential person, and her writing exudes confidence and authenticity.

    in Famous Family Poems

    When you see me sitting quietly,
    Like a sack left on the shelf,
    Don’t think I need your chattering.
    I’m listening to myself.
    Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!
    Hold! Stop your sympathy!
    Understanding if you got it,
    Otherwise I’ll do without it!
    When my bones are stiff and aching,
    And my feet won’t climb the stair,
    I will only ask one favor:
    Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
    When you see me walking, stumbling,
    Don’t study and get it wrong.
    ‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy
    And every goodbye ain’t gone.
    I’m the same person I was back then,
    A little less hair, a little less chin,
    A lot less lungs and much less wind.
    But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.

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  21. 19. My Mother

    • By Sinitta Washington
    • Published by Family Friend Poems July 2006 with permission of the Author.

    A child writes of the qualities that make her mother great.

    in Mother Poems

    I know of a woman whose strength is of a bear.
    And even when she's not that happy, she always takes time out to care.
    I know of a woman whose beauty is that of a queen.
    But she continues to teach us that beauty doesn't mean a thing.
    You see, this woman I know is surely like no other.
    Because the woman I mention here is truly my great mother.

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  22. 20. Alone

    Everyone needs people beside them through the journey of life. It's not meant to be something to do alone. Even the richest people who are able to buy whatever they need still need people to walk along with them, or they will begin to feel lonely. No amount of money is able to buy the support and care of others. We learn from this poem by Maya Angelou how important it is to develop strong relationships.

    in Famous Friendship Poems

    Lying, thinking
    Last night
    How to find my soul a home
    Where water is not thirsty
    And bread loaf is not stone
    I came up with one thing
    And I don’t believe I’m wrong
    That nobody,
    But nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Alone, all alone
    Nobody, but nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    There are some millionaires
    With money they can't use
    Their wives run round like banshees
    Their children sing the blues
    They've got expensive doctors
    To cure their hearts of stone.
    But nobody
    No, nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Alone, all alone
    Nobody, but nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Now if you listen closely
    I'll tell you what I know
    Storm clouds are gathering
    The wind is gonna blow
    The race of man is suffering
    And I can hear the moan,
    'Cause nobody,
    But nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

    Alone, all alone
    Nobody, but nobody
    Can make it out here alone.

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